A healthy van fleet will save you money in the long run, as well as ensuring maximum satisfaction for clients, and minimum grief from unexpected problems. Aside from anything else there are minimum legal requirements that any vehicle owner must adhere to, and even more regulations for a business owner operating an entire fleet.
According to the estimates of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), there are over a million unhealthy and unroadworthy vans on UK's roads today. As a result there is now more funding available to conduct roadside checks on vans; and a quarter of these checks lead to some form of action, and the worst case scenario is prosecution, both for the driver and the owner.
As if that is not reason enough to keep a healthy van fleet, consider also the huge benefits to your business:
Healthy vans equals happy, satisfied, customers.
A healthy fleet is safer and leads to less risks of accidents, and less liability to Duty of Care.
A healthy fleet will be miles cheaper to insure.
Healthy vans are cheaper to run. Routine maintenance saves the need for big jobs later on, and the vans are less likely to guzzle petrol, giving you more for your milage.
You will make more money on resale when the time comes to replace your fleet, if the vans are kept in good health.
In order to keep a healthy van fleet you should take care at each point during your fleet's life-cycle.
Procurement: The first step is to buy a healthy fleet. For business reasons new vehicles are superior and less troublesome, and you should do your research well, and choose vehicles that will be cost effective to maintain, and which do not have a troublesome name for breaking down.
Maintenance: This is perhaps the most important and consistent influence you can have on the health of your van fleet. Maintenance should be a key factor in your fleet management strategy, and something that you take seriously, and work hard at.
Running: Following best practices for running your fleet will help you to save money on fuel, repairs, and tires.
Disposal: The key to effective disposal is timing. If you have made efforts to keep your fleet healthy then you should be able to fetch a good price, and if you time it right this will be a great contribution to your upgrades. Do not let your fleet deteriorate before selling them.
There are three main types of maintenance, and it is highly recommended that you take all of it seriously, factoring it into your business plans and fleet strategy, and allowing plenty of costs to cover it. Your aim should be something like van excellence.
Preventative Maintenance: This type of maintenance is ongoing, and involves making a strict habit out of small checks on the vehicles. You should train your drivers to make these checks. You don't need to be a mechanic to ensure smooth preventative maintenance; you just need a good memory! Things like checking the windscreen is clean, check the mirrors, tyres, number plates, seat belts, battery, fluid levels, doors, and that the load is secure. All of these are simple and easy, and checking them now can save huge problems later.
Routine Maintenance: Every month or so a routine maintenance check should be carried out which is much more in-depth that the preventative. The engine should be checked, the tyres checked and replaced if worn, and the vehicle should be test driven independently for safety and performance. Emergency Maintenance- In the case of an unforeseen or sudden problem, emergency maintenance may be needed. This could involve calling out a mechanic, or making repairs in-house if you can.